Snyderman-Works Gallery: Philly’s Fiber Art Mecca

I was able to see the last day of Snyderman Works Gallery’s Fiber Philadelphia show on April 28.  Fiber Philadelphia is a biennial celebration of fiber arts that takes place across the city.  Galleries and art centers showcase a fiberart form or show.  This coincides with the biennial show Art Quilt Elements at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA.  2014 was the 8th international fiber biennial.

Snyderman-Works Gallery is the premier gallery for fiber art, IMHO. The space is gorgeous, they understand the medium and and the staff is attentive without being pushy. They are very knowledgeable about the work and the artists. I was impressed when I mentioned I was from Tucson and a staff member told me that one of their artists is also represented by Obsidian Gallery here in town. She had nothing to gain by mentioning this, but I bet the artist is sure grateful she did.

But there is some really interesting work to show you, and so I begin.  These are just a few of the works that caught my eye. The gallery has better photos of the 2012 Biennial on their website here if you want a closer look or to learn more about the artists.

Indigo dyed katazome by artist Lucy Arai. Love the way these were displayed to allow the light through the fabric.
Called ‘Order/Disorder,’ this is rust-dyed silk with encaustic, I believe, by Deborah Warner. The encaustic will prevent further oxidation of the fabric.
John McQueen's 'After Dark Comes Calling' is made from tree bark. Delicate and haunting.
'Caterpillar' by Jon Eric Riis is stunning. Every square millimeter of this large piece is encrusted with beads.

detail of ‘Caterpillar’
'Tracts and Traces' by Lia Cook. This, as I recall, is the only quilt in the show. The child's face is not visible until you are some distance from the work.

This whimsical piece is by Richard Saja and is called 'Has Anyone Seem My Lighter?' Embroidered over printed fabric.


'Small Winged Life' is comprised of 107 individual insects handmade from plant fiber by Jill Powers.
This piece called 'Advance and Retreat' by Karin Birch has exquisite depth. Beads and paint on linen. The work is under glass, so I apologize for the flash on the image.

Lissa Hunter’s ‘Founder’ has thread embedded in encaustic over painting/drawing. One of my favorite pieces…the horizontal composition and color scheme are so soothing. Reminds me of the Steely Dan lyric ‘The danger on the rocks has surely passed.’
This meditative work is by John Paul Morabito. It is woven wool that has hundreds/thousands of tiny holes burned into it....
'Encuentros en la Cruce' by Betsabe Romero. This striking piece proves how important context is. Printed from a hand-carved tire, it just wouldn't have the impact if it were displayed without the tire. Is it a comment on how fiber art is treated by the art world?

I am already planning my trip for the ninth Fiber Philadelphia biennial in 2014.  Snyderman-Works Gallery will be on the ‘must-see’ list.  In the next few days, I will post some pieces from the Wexler Gallery’s exhibition, so stay tuned….

5 thoughts on “Snyderman-Works Gallery: Philly’s Fiber Art Mecca

  1. Inspiring work. What a wonderful opportunity. There is so much diversity and experimentation in fiber art isn’t there. Your comments describing the pieces was helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Mary:

    Thank you for sharing some of the fabulous works on display in Philadelphia this year. I was able to see one of John Paul Morabito’s works at the Fiberart International show in Pittsburgh in 2010. His woven work was cotton, linen and paper, then burned with several large and thousands of small holes.

    I have thought about burning work but have not had the courage to burn. I am glad that others can take that step. Once seen, it certainly sticks in my memory for a long time.


    1. I have a ‘burn’ project in mind, but not in the immediate future….it will be really nerve-wracking!

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